25 Small Changes to Lose Weight, Feel Better, and Live Longer
Okay guys and girls, let’s get real for a second. Let’s stop making rash decisions that usually only lead to failure. Let’s Stop kidding ourselves that we won’t EVER have another soda, another donut, or another candy bar.
Life is a long process consisting of seemingly minuscule decisions that affect the rest of our lives. That piece of chocolate cake seems AMAZING now, but it is still a decision that you will have to live with. This is especially true if you love chocolate cake, as never eating one again may prove to be extremely difficult and nearly impossible for some!
Making slow and gradual changes to your diet, lifestyle, and even your way of thinking, is the only way to see lasting change. Pick any small action step from this list to start TODAY to move towards an even more awesome future.
Remember that you can do it and that these small changes to lose weight do indeed work. The most important thing is to never give up and to keep on fighting no matter what your starting point is!
Small Dietary Changes for Weight Loss
“People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing.” – John Porter
Drink more water. Water is the #1 small change you can make. Adding water to your diet boosts your metabolism, re-hydrates you, renews cells, cleanses your colon, and can cure other diseases by giving your immune system an excellent boost. Upping your water consumption is an absolute must when it comes to any weight loss program!
Lemon water in the morning is another great way to drink water. If you are one of those people that just don’t like just plain water, no problem! Lemon water can add some much needed flavor to a pretty boring drink. Plus, lemons are jam packed with nutrients and are an even better boost to your immune system and to your weight loss program than just plain water alone.
Wait 5 minutes after you finish a meal before you eat more, or eat dessert. It often takes your mind a little bit to realize that it is indeed full. If you wait a few minutes you may not have as much of a craving for dessert.
I have personally tried this and it does indeed work, but it takes a lot of discipline and willpower to forgo that second helping! However, once you try it a couple times and find that it does indeed work, it will get easier and easier to do with more practice. Your brain will soon start to get used to the fact that you aren’t going to grab a second plate of food right away!
Eat more granola/fiber bars. Fiber bars can be a great snack for the road as long as you choose the right one! There are many poor choices out there, and you really need to make sure that the bars you are eating are low in sugar and high in protein and fiber.
Kind bars are awesome (despite what the FDA might say) and can get you started on the right track to get your daily fiber amount. They are high in protein and high in fiber and taste delicious to boot!
Buy frozen fruits and vegetables so they are always ready for smoothies, and other recipes. Frozen vegetables are actually healthier than their non-frozen counterparts and they are much more convenient. Stock your freezer full of broccoli, corn, peas, raspberries, blueberries, etc. so you can always have some on hand whenever you might want to add them to a meal.
Try different fruits to find ones that you like. There are all kinds of different fruits out there that you can try. Besides just the apples and bananas of the world, you can look through this list of 10 Unexpected Fruits With Fiber that I put together to find some other random fruits you might enjoy.
Fruit is awesome, and adding it to your diet can give you some amazing health benefits. Fruits can be used in all kinds of different ways like smoothies or even desserts! If you are eating dessert anyways you might as well make it a
Try to include something healthy in each meal. Eating a glorious pepperoni pizza? Add a side of broccoli, or better yet, make it a veggie pizza instead. Grabbing take out for the night? Go ahead and make yourself a smoothie and have that with the meal instead a soda. All of these choices are small victories that make a huge difference!
Here are some other great quick ideas of foods to add to a meal:
- Salad as a side to a main dish.
- An apple with lunch.
- Add a banana to a bowl of cereal (This tip has the Fiber Guardian’s personal seal of approval!).
- Make a quick sweet potato to have with dinner.
- Check out these other awesome recipes of side dishes to add to any meal.
Make dinner yourself to avoid going out to eat (this also helps you to not spend a lot of money. When you eat out (especially when you eat fast food) you are getting next to nothing of nutritional value. Just think of the classic meal of a burger with fries and a soda or milkshake. What about that benefits you nutritionally? The answer is pretty much nothing, and even worse is the fact that most fast food meals make up the calorie content the average person needs per day, in just one meal!
Making food yourself is definitely the better way to go, for your wallet and for your overall well-being.
Furthermore, you can also make food to bring to work that will last the week. I often make myself chili that will last the week, and this is a great way to avoid eating out for lunch.
Replace snacks like chips and cookies with fruit and vegetables when possible. This may not be anyone’s favorite solution, but it is indeed a great way to counter poor eating habits. Here are 19 Healthy Snack Ideas for your viewing and eating pleasure! The bagel with ricotta and strawberries sounds especially amazing, but just make sure the bagel is high in fiber!
Add protein to your diet. This can come in the form of more grains, nuts, eggs, and lean meats. For more see 5 Reasons Why Protein is Good for Weight Loss. The good news is that if you are eating a high fiber diet you will more than likely be getting a decent amount protein!
Avoid sugary drinks whenever possible. Not to be confused with the natural sugar that is in fruits and vegetables, added sugar is the enemy of health and happiness. This is definitely one of my struggles, so I definitely understand your pain! Make slow changes and try to reduce the amount of times per week you are drinking soda, iced tea, juice, etc.
Try having a 2-3 full glasses of water right when you wake up. This will rev up your metabolism and get you ready to tackle the day. Just drinking water is a great change to make, but drinking water in the morning has amazing benefits.
I personally do this, and it is one of the strongest recommendations I make to everyone that I know. Water is so important and upping your intake of it is an absolute must.
Small Lifestyle changes to Feel Better
“When people are ready to, they change. They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it. You can’t make them change if they don’t want to, just like when they do want to, you can’t stop them.“ – Andy Warhol
Take a walk. Walking is the absolute best way to begin an exercise regime, especially if you have been living a sedentary lifestyle. It is easy, doesn’t require a lot of equipment, is a great way to strike up conversation with your spouse or friend, and it gives you time to think.
Make working out a habit, and not something you do on occasion. Go for regular walks, run, or weight-lift 2-3 times per week. Diet alone won’t tone your body and exercising for at least 30 minutes a day is an excellent small change to make.
Even if you only start out by walking 2-3 times per week for only a half mile, the key is to MAKE the change and keep working at it. Slowly work yourself up to 30 minutes a day and beyond! You will be happy that you did, and I guarantee you that you will feel physically and mentally better for doing so.
Take a deep breath to reduce stress. Every once in awhile stop and take a nice long deep breath to reduce your stress levels. Stress is a major factor in weight gain and general unhappiness. Do whatever you can to avoid stress and try to manage it when you can. For ways to avoid and reduce stress see this Stress Management article at Wed MD or my article on 7 Steps to Reducing Stress.
Take the stairs at work. If you have stairs, take them and get your heart rate up! I don’t personally have any stairs in my office, so I understand if you don’t, but keep this tactic in mind for other building you might find yourself in.
For example, my wife and I stayed on the 12th floor on a recent vacation. We took the stairs quite a bit just for fun! it was a great way to get our heart rate up and helped us to feel really good!
Practice Yoga. Yoga is an EXCELLENT stress reliever and it is a great workout. Yoga feels amazing (Yes I do yoga on occasion) for many reasons, but the level of calm I feel in my mind afterwards is like nothing I get from other workouts.
Weight Lift or Body Lift- Weight lifting is an excellent activity to get into, but it does not require you to go to the gym. There are many body weight exercises that you can do right From Home that will aid in your goals just as well or better than getting a gym membership.
Adopt a Quick Daily Workout that you can do wherever and whenever (within reason, unless you have an awesome boss that understands the value of exercise!) I often shut my door and due push-ups, stair climbers, or even jumping jacks. I definitely get a rush of energy from doing these quick workouts and I recommend them as a great way to stay active throughout the day.
Get enough sleep per night. This one may seem pretty simple, but most people do not get enough sleep. Sleep is essential and determines how your entire day will unfold.
I often find that when I get 6 hours of sleep I don’t function as well the next day. 8 hours of sleep seems to be my benchmark. If you are not already, start paying close attention to your sleep habits to determine how much sleep you truly need.
Find physical activities that you love to do in order to get a workout without even noticing! My wife and I love to play ultimate frisbee, but any sport works. You can even go for long walks, garden, clean the house, walk up and down a flight of stairs, etc. Anything that gets your heart rate up is a great small change to make!
Stand whenever possible. You can even build a standing desk for about 30 dollars out of Ikea Parts! I personally built this exact desk (see picture) and I use it at my office! I was experiencing a lot of lower back pain after sitting at a desk all day for a year until I built this desk.
I have since been pain free and it definitely feels a lot better to be able to alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day! I love feeling the burn at work, and it makes me feel like I am not just being lazy!
Find an accountability partner to help you to stay on track and keep pushing you to succeed. Two is better than one, and it definitely helps to have someone to push you when you need it, and to support you when are struggling.
Small Changes to Your Attitude to Live Longer
“The best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Think positively! Having a good attitude is huge for your success, and is one of the best small changes you can make. Positive thinking is huge for your health and has benefits which include changing how your brain reacts and responds to certain situations!
Challenge yourself by making goals for what you want to attain. Not only for weight loss and overall health, but for your personal life, career, etc. Goal setting is a great foundation for making your dreams come true. Dream big, go for the gold, and make something of your life.
Final Thoughts on Making Small Changes
No matter what you do, just remember to take it one day at a time. Slowly make changes to your diet, lifestyle, and attitude to achieve the best results and meet your goals.
1) Are you pumped?
2) What will your first action step be?
Let me know in the comments below and start the discussion!
Thanks for reading!